When life gives you lemons, make startups

Lemonsqueeze takes their market expansion expertise worldwide for Nordic companies

Photo courtesy of Nordic Startup Bits
Lemonsqueeze coworking space in Brooklyn, N.Y.

Lisa Mallner
Nordic Startup Bits

Last autumn, the second ever #Nordicmade tour touched down in NYC to meet the local startup ecosystem, including Lemonsqueeze. #Nordicmade is a collaborative initiative between the five Nordic countries founded in Copenhagen in 2014 to increase cross-border collaboration and promote Nordic startups internationally.

#Nordicmade’s NYC tour was a whirlwind trip that took the 12 Nordic founders on a tour of the New York startup ecosystem to share knowledge, meet investors, and for some, take the first steps towards scaling into the U.S. market.

Lemonsqueeze, which since 2013 has been an entry point for European startups expanding into the U.S., was a critical part of the tour. The company is now the most established U.S. expansion mentor in the Nordics, cooperating with companies such as Templafy, Joe and the Juice, Sling, Aims Innovation, GAN Integrity, and Falcon.

“We love to work with the Lemonsqueeze team, as we feel they speak our language and fully understand the needs of the Nordic entrepreneurs who want to expand to the U.S. market,” says Salóme Guðmundsdóttir, CEO of Icelandic Startups.

Expanding worldwide
Now, Lemonsqueeze is expanding their offices—to Israel, Austria, the Netherlands, Poland, and soon Denmark—and carrying on the momentum that has had them barely able to keep up with increasing demand for their services. While Denmark is a much-anticipated expansion, internationalizing quickly has never been the forte of Nordic startups.

“The Nordics is such an exciting market, but it’s not always the most exciting in terms of companies expanding into the U.S.,” says Danish CEO and founder, Mik Strøyberg. “Other countries are relatively fast to start talking about the U.S., create foundations, and get the first traction.”

Going global, staying local
Lemonsqueeze assists expanding companies using a bottom-up approach, which partners with movers and shakers who are already active ecosystem builders and who prioritize market expansion.

“The partners need to understand the vision of unlocking the potential of home companies in their market. It’s not about selling a product; it’s making sure companies can get the most out of their full potential. They need to know that they are part of something bigger,” says Strøyberg.

Local partners can, critically, understand the cultural differences that inform the market needs of different companies. For example, some cultures “place a greater importance in having their first sales in a new market, while others will not do business in a country until their foundations for growth are 100% compliant,” he explains.

Adapting to companies’ needs

Lemonsqueeze might have a more hands-on approach than other global strategy firms, and they give the ultimate stamp of quality assurance—to both the expanding companies and the partners. However, they are firm in their belief that there is not a “one size fits all” approach to international expansion.

One aspect of their core approach, however, is moving fast. In fact, the normal timeline for expansion is as short as six months.

“If you really want to scale, the only real way to do it is to build it up strong from the get go, but do it super fast and only with stuff that’s necessary. That’s one of the biggest problems with expanding—people will offer you 10,000 things that you don’t need. Because we are one single point of contact, we can build something strong and validate it fast,” claims Lemonsqueeze.

This article was originally published on Nordic Startup Bits at www.nordicstartupbits.com/2016/10/18/61913.

This article also appeared in the Jan. 13, 2017, issue of The Norwegian American. To subscribe, visit SUBSCRIBE or call us at (206) 784-4617.

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